Sarah M. Broom

Hal Williamson

The Yellow House

Published by Grove Press

From The Yellow House

Shame is a slow creeping. The most powerful things are quietest, if you think about it. Like water. I cannot pinpoint the precise moment I came to understand that no one was ever to come inside the Yellow House. My mother began saying you know this house not all that comfortable for other people and that line seemed, after a time, unending, a verbal tic so at home with us that she need not ever complete the sentence.

You know this house...

The grant jury:  From a singular writer, a crucial memoir of life on the margins--one that, through ruthless observation and deepest intelligence, might help reintegrate what happens in those margins into the central narratives of American life. Alternating gracefully between immediacy and critical distance, she leaves us with deep insight not just into her own family, her own community, but into governance, justice, and inequality in the round. Timeless in its telling, The Yellow House could become a modern classic.

The Yellow House is part portrait of a place — New Orleans — and part autobiography of a woman who belongs to it, the youngest in a family of twelve. It is the story of a house in New Orleans East that was demolished by the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina without a single family member there to witness it, and of an ignored suburb on the margins of the city’s center where tourists sleep the night. 


Sarah M. Broom’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Oxford American and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. A native New Orleanian, she received her Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, and was lead writer for Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. She has been awarded fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. The Yellow House will be her first book. She lives in Woodstock, New York.